A curation of articles, essays, book reviews and interviews on critical geographical concerns.
A frequent sight along many roads, roadblocks form a banal yet persistent element across the margins of contemporary global logistical landscapes. How, this article asks, can we come to terms with roadblocks as a logistical form of power? Based on an ongoing mapping of roadblocks in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, it sketches a political geography of “roadblock politics”: a spatial pattern of control concentrated around trade routes, where the capacity to disrupt logistical aspirations is translated into other forms of power, financial and political. While today’s roadblocks are tied up with the ongoing conflict in both countries, the article shows, roadblock politics has a much deeper history. Before colonization, African rulers manufactured powerful polities out of control over points of passage along long-distance trade routes crisscrossing the continent. The article traces how since precolonial times control over long-distance trade routes was turned into a source of political power, how these routes were forcefully appropriated through colonial occupation, how after the crumbling of the colonial order new connections were engineered between political power and the circulation of goods in Central Africa, and how control over these flows ultimately became a key stake in ongoing civil wars in the region.
Driven by the momentous political and economic changes of the past decade and by the resurgence of popular resistance against globalization, the question of global supply chains has come back with a vengeance. Nearly two decades after the optimism around globalization fizzled out, the imperative of circulation remains so deeply ingrained in our world that it is almost invisible.
This paper brings together recent geographical writing on logistics with discussions of margins as paradoxical sites of inclusive exclusion. Building on fieldwork on the docks of Freetown, Sierra Leone – a port that experts in logistics problematize as a ‘contaminated’ place within the global shipping community – this contribution shows that seaports at global margins are in fact at the centre of key projects of global circulation.
This article explores and analyzes a form of subversive logistics: the use of trained Asian elephants in the mobilization of cargo and people. The article aims to help theorize the connection between mobility and political subversion, highlighting how landscapes which do not lend themselves to permanent transport infrastructure—and thus the presence of the state—are simultaneously places of potential resistance.
This article explores the co-production of political order and circulation in what today is known as Berbera corridor, a trade and transport corridor that connects landlocked Ethiopia and Berbera Port in the breakaway Republic of Somaliland.
In this paper, I draw attention to the ever conflicting and contingent nature of infrastructure building through an ethnographic account of the land conflicts present in an ongoing road project in the Colombian region of Putumayo.
This paper places an empirical focus on logistics to link three strands of inquiry: Ghana’s deep-water oil economy, the built environment of Ghana’s oil-city of Takoradi, and the character of governance at their confluence.
Though not an exhaustive list, these are many of the main areas we cover.
Writings that critically engage the ongoing conditions of coloniality and its effects. Entries in this section may also speculate on intellectual, political and organizational tactics that work to resist coloniality, colonization and colonialism’s effects in the present.
Examines the evolving social, ecological, cultural and geopolitical impacts of energy systems and resource extraction, with particular emphasis on the spatial relationships that structure the extraction, production, distribution and consumption of energy and other natural resources and raw materials
Chronicles past, present, and potential impacts of technoscientific development on the production of space. Provides critical looks into how scientific disciplines and industries influence how we analyze, categorize, experience, interpret, navigate, and represent that which we call space.
Investigates the spatial implications of the mass production, consumption, and disposal of digital media. Core areas of study include the environmental impacts, industrial landscapes, infrastructures, political transformations, social activities, and subjectivities particular to the digital age.
Charts the role that maps and various other forms of geo-visualisation play in the production of space. Offers a critical forum for investigating older modes of cartographic representation as well as newer approaches to big data and the politics of algorithmic and other data-driven processes.
Investigates relations between policing (narrowly and broadly understood), incarceration, and the production of space and spatial knowledge. Borders, criminalized neighborhoods, detention centers, heavily securitized areas, internment camps, jails, prisons, rendition sites, and the spatial relations that they rely on and produce are explored as sites of power and subversion.